My doctor, Dr Jennifer Fuson also said she has worked with dozens of women using this method, which gives further confidence that I am doing the right thing.
So what are we using?
If you have not heard of hypnobabies (which I suspect is the case for many), here is their definition:
“Hypnobabies is a very successful 6 week, 3-hours per week,complete childbirth education course that was adapted with permission from Master Hypnotherapist Gerald Kein’s “Painless Childbirth Program” techniques rather than using simple relaxation, breathing or guided imagery. This allows our Hypno-Moms to enjoy “eyes-open childbirth hypnosis”, easily remaining deeply in hypnosis while walking, talking and changing positions; being as mobile as they would like to be during childbirth. Hypnobabies is well-known for helping women to create much shorter, easier and more comfortable labors, making childbirth the joyful experience it was meant to be.”
Now, before I lose you, I know this is very different to what we see for most women; on tv, in movies, from others who have had children, but I totally believe in this, and as soon as Steve picked up the book for the first time, he said that he knew it was perfect for me.
In my own words, hypnobabies is all about creating a relaxed and positive environment around you and your baby. Rather than approaching the birth with fear and dread, your mindset is spun to look at it in a different way using more positive words and thoughts, for example, reminding you that each pressure wave or birthing wave (I am not going to repeat the word most use, but you know what that is), over time, you train your mind and body to relax. Once the wave is over, you see it as a positive, that you are one step closer to your baby.
Rather than bearing down and tensing up, it gives you the skills to be as relaxed as you possibly can within your muscles to allow things to happen. Once again, much in the same way that when we are in the hard part of a race, the more you screw up your face, and tighten up trying to force yourself faster, the more inefficient you will be, and the more you will slow down.
If you are able to work through it and stay relaxed while you are trying to run as hard as you can, your body is able to maximize itself.
Each day, I have an audio track I listen to for 30-45 minutes, which puts me into deep hypnosis and allows me to practice with what I will need for the day and condition all those negative words surrounding birthing into positive words. It prepares you for the day, what to expect, what is going to happen, and how you are going to respond to it.
As a BIIIGG fan of visualization, someone who has seen races go EXACTLY as I envisioned them in the 6 weeks prior, I am a big believer in this type of reinforcement. I listen to this immediately as I wake up in the morning, when I am nice and relaxed…and before my restless legs starts!
Once a week I have a phone call with my hypnobabies coach, Emily, who talks about what I will be working on in the coming week, and we talk over any concerns I have had during the week (and yes, you can be honest). Yes, I did have some times where I said to her that I just couldn’t see how it was going to work. Since then, I have changed my thinking, and it becomes a matter of faith or belief that it will, and you just have to trust that.
My restless legs bother me quite a lot while I am completing my hypnobabies tracks, which can make it difficult some days, but like a difficult workout day, you have to do your best, and not let your mind ruin your practice.
As I am now in the maintenance stage, I also have a 17 minute track I listen to in the afternoons, this has you practicing each of the hypnosis inducing stages, and goes over the ways you will relax your body.
My favorite part of hypnobabies is the 40 minute track called Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations, which you listen to every day, and it repeats positive, confidence building statements to you about your pregnancy and birthing. I play this as I fall asleep at night, so I go to bed and wake up with positive messages running through my mind.
What I also did was have a 4 hour in person private class with Emily at Baby Moon to go through one final run through and preparation. I really enjoyed this class it helped me to know it will be the final confirmation that I am doing the right thing.
There is also a TON of information about the day itself, what to expect, what decisions you DO have (even though sometimes, especially here in the US, it may feel like you don’t), and that myself and Steve are in control of our babies birth, and that it doesn’t have to be this terrifying experience.
I understand it is not going to be for everyone and you must go into this with an open mind, but here are the reasons I think it will work for a lot of runners out there:
- You spend up to an hour each day training for the big event
- You never truly know how you are going to feel on the day, but you believe that you are putting in the work, doing what you need to do, and trust that it will unfold
- There is a lot of visualization involved, especially when it comes to the birthing day. I am a HUGE believer in visualization for races, and believe this works too
- Just like someone who turns up for a marathon terribly under trained will be in for a big surprise, hypnobabies allows YOU to take control, to do all the preparation before to be ready for the big day
- You know your body is going to undergo a big change, a big event that will take a while to recover from, but the result is so worth it
- Rather than spending weeks or months fearing the event (like you would if you had a lot of pressure on yourself for a race), you are excited for the moment it will happen.
Many may be rolling their eyes at the concept of this, but if I have spoken to you, and this seems like something you would rather do after all the years of movies and fear being drilled into you about this moment, you can find out more about hypnobabies here. You can also purchase the self study class yourself. As I mentioned, I am working with Emily from Baby Moon, and I am very happy with them, and strongly would recommend…but obviously if you don’t live in Lexington, you may have to see if there is a hypnobabies class near you.
All the people who have really committed, done the training and trusted that it will work out on the day (just like training for a race) only have positive things to say about it, and have used it for their first babies or fourth babies, it doesnt matter, but once women try this, and really do it, they do not go back.
In the same way, again like a race, those who do not commit and may only give it half effort, end up with a less than desirable result on the day, and then try to blame everyone else rather than looking internally for what they did wrong.
If you are a mama to be and feeling a little unsure, this Running Through and After Pregnancy podcast series will cover all the questions you have about exercising during pregnancy.